You’ve just finished up your workday and got in your car to head home. You expect your engine to start right up and get you on your way but instead, all you hear is a clicking sound or nothing at all. Unfortunately, you have now found yourself dealing with one of the most common car issues out there, a dead battery.
Aside from changing a tire, knowing how to jumpstart a car is probably the most common car repair issue that you may encounter as a vehicle owner. Thankfully, it really isn’t that difficult to jump a dead battery so long as you take just a little bit of time to understand the process. Knowing what to do can help you make certain you avoid being shocked or even worse, having a battery explode when you attempt to jump it.
How To Know If Your Car Needs Jump Started
Before you can jump start your car, you need to determine if a dead battery is a culprit and if it really does need a jump. If you’re trying to start the car and you can hear the engine trying to start, then you may be dealing with something other than a dead battery.
On the other hand, if you turn your key in your ignition and hear clicking sounds or it sounds like your engine is beginning to start and then starts clicking, or if you hear absolutely nothing at all, then you are probably dealing with a dead battery. In this case, jumping the battery will get you back on the road in no time in most cases.
How To Jumpstart A Car With Traditional Jumper Cables
The most common way to jumpstart a car is by using a traditional set of jumper cables. If you don’t own a set of quality jumper cables, you definitely should. Having a set of jumper cables inside of every vehicle you own is a very good idea as most people will need them at some point in time during their vehicle’s lifespan.
Jump starting your vehicle with traditional cables is very easy and only takes a few quick steps:
1. Find another driver who is willing to give you a jump.
2. Ensure that both vehicles are turned completely off.
3. Connect the red cable (also known as the positive cable) to the terminal on the dead battery that’s marked + for positive.
4. Take the other end of that cable and connect it to the + terminal of the battery in the car that will start.
5. Connect the black cable (also known as the negative, or ground cable) to the negative terminal on the battery of the vehicle that will start.
6. Connect the other end of the black cable to a metal object somewhere under the hood of the vehicle that will not start. Make certain you do not connect this end of the cable to the negative terminal on the bad battery as it could explode the battery and at the very least it will shoot sparks into the air.
7. Start the vehicle that has the good battery in it. Allow the vehicle to run for about three or four minutes to charge the battery that is disabled.
8. Start the vehicle with the disabled battery.
9. Remove all cables in the opposite order that you put them on. Start by removing the negative cable from the metal under the disabled car’s hood, then from the good battery’s negative terminal, then remove the positive cable from the disabled vehicle’s battery and finally unhook it from the car that jumped the disabled vehicle.
10. After you’ve got the disabled car started, make sure that you allow it to run for at least half an hour to charge the battery so that it will start on its own the next time you need to start it up.
As you can see, there are quite a few steps involved with jumpstarting the car with traditional jumper cables. Also, it’s late at night, it can often be difficult to find another driver who would be willing to give you a jump.
For that reason, it is strongly recommended to carry something known as a jump box, or emergency jumping box with you inside of your car. These little jump boxes are very inexpensive, take up very little space and are great to have for storing a variety of different motor vehicle emergencies that you may find yourself facing as a driver.
Most of these boxes can not only jumpstart your car, but they can also inflate your tires in an emergency and they can also serve as a flashlight or strobe light should you break down the side of the highway and need to prevent a possible accident from being struck by other passing drivers.
How To Jumpstart Your Car With A Jump Box
Jumpstarting your car with a jump box is very easy. Just like with a traditional set of jumper cables, you do have to hook the cables up to the terminals of your battery, but instead of having to worry about four places to connect cables to, you only have two to worry about two:
1. Turn on the power to your jump box.
2. Connect the red positive cable to the positive terminal on your car’s battery.
3. Connect the negative cable to a piece of metal under your hood.
4. Wait 4-5 minutes to allow the battery to charge.
5. Start your car.
6. Disconnect the cables starting with the negative cable and then the positive one.
7. Allow the car to run for about 30 minutes before turning it off again to allow the battery to charge up a little bit.
Now that you know how to jump start your car two different ways using jumper cables or a battery jump box, what you do if you find yourself broken down without any jumper cables at all and trying to get a dead battery to start up?
Thankfully, if you have a manual transmission car, also known as a stick shift, then you can still jumpstart your car without needing a set of cables so long as you have a small hill or a couple of friends available.
How To Roll Start A Manual Transmission Car
If you have a car that has a manual transmission, you can jumpstart it without needing a set of jumper cables so long as you have a small hill or a couple of friends who can push your vehicle available:
1. Position the car on a small downhill grade or have your friends get ready to push it.
2. Turn the ignition to the on position.
3. Fully depress the clutch of your car and shift it into first gear.
4. Allow the car to get up to about 3-5 miles per hour.
5. Release the clutch and hit the gas. The engine will turn over the car will start, and you can be on your way. Be warned, you’ll feel the car jerk hard when this happens. This jerking feeling is completely normal and shouldn’t harm your car at all.
Just like with all the other methods of jumping a car, make certain that you let the car run for about 30 minutes before turning it off so that you can successfully start it up again without any issue. Also, take a look at the related infographics.
As you can see from the tips listed above, knowing how to jump start a car really isn’t that big of a challenge. Once you know the process, you can have your car started up again without too much fuss.
Once you have it running again, make certain that you take the time to get to an auto parts store or garage so that you can have your battery checked to see if it is beginning to die. Often, finding yourself needing to jumpstart your car is the first sign that it is time to replace your battery with a new one.